Katniss and Rue: Healing Properties of the Plants of the Hunger Games

Updated on October 20, 2017

Katniss Everdeen Knows a Lot About Plants

If you have read The Hunger Games books, it’s hard not to envy the enormous knowledge of plants that Katniss Everdeen and her family have. Her dad was a hunter and knew tons of things about the wilderness, and he taught Katniss how to survive eating wild plants. He also taught her which plants would mean death after few bites.

Her mom and her sister are healers, and they can cure any illness with the few resources they have available in their state of poverty, mostly relying on natural remedies like plants, oils, etc.

Sagittaria, arrowhead
Sagittaria, arrowhead | Source

Girls Named After Plants: Katniss and Rue

Katniss and the cute Hunger Game participant, Rue, are named after plants. Even Karniss's sister, Primrose, has the name of a flower.

I had never heard of the katniss plant before reading the book, and I thought it was made up by the author. When I looked it up, however, I discovered that it does in fact exist and that it has an interesting story.

Rue is also a plant, and it has healing properties, as well.

About the Katniss Plant

The katniss plant has a unique characteristic in the shape of its leaves: they look like arrowheads.

The destiny of baby Katniss Everdeen seems to be decided at birth, the little baby was destined to become a precise and deadly archer, a skill which will save her life and change history.

The plant lives partially submerged in water and has bluish tuber roots that store nutrients and serve for plant reproduction as well.

The flowers have three round petals, mainly white, with some red in the middle.

While the katniss plant is used in fish tanks for decoration, it is a common plant in ponds, creeks, and marshes, especially in North America.

As we learn from the book, the roots of the katniss plant are edible tubers; in fact they were popular food with the Native Americans.

You can plant katniss in your pond, and it will propagate and multiply. If you want to limit its proliferation you can plant it in vases submerged 12 inches deep.

Wanna see what I got you today? It's a mockingjay pin, to protect you. And as long as you have it, nothing bad will happen to you, okay? I promise.

— Katniss Everdeen

About the Rue Plant (Ruta Graveolens)

Rue is a perennial plant, originally from the Mediterranean area. The plant was considered an amulet against fear, people would carry rue’s leaves in their pockets when they had to face scary situations, and the homes were Rue grew were considered auspicious, because rue was believed to keep witches and evil spells away.

Rue’s leaves should be harvested before the flowers bloom, and they can be used fresh or dry.

Rue plant with flowers
Rue plant with flowers | Source

Rue: Culinary and Therapeutic Uses

The leaves of rue can be used as herbal medicine, in foods, and to flavor liquors, but consumption is strongly discouraged due to its potential side effects.

Culinary Uses. In the kitchen, fresh rue leaves can be used to flavor salads, meats, fish, oils, and aromatic vinegar. One of rue’s very popular uses is to add it to liquor, in order to add aroma and to enhance its digestive properties.

Therapeutic Properties. Rue is known as a powerful herb that should not be taken lightly. In fact, in some cultures it is used as the main natural way to induce abortion or miscarriage or to prevent pregnancies.

Strongly stimulating and antispasmodic, rue is often employed in form of a warm infusion. But be mindful that in excessive doses it is an narcotic poison.

It forms a useful medicine in hysterical affections, in coughs, croupy affections, colic and flatulence.

Externally, rue is an active irritant, used to rub on chest or affected areas. If bruised and applied, the leaves will ease the severe pain of sciatica. The expressed juice, in small quantities, was a noted remedy for nervous nightmare, and the fresh leaves applied to the temples are said to relieve headache. Compresses saturated with juice of the plant, when applied to the chest, have been used beneficially for chronic bronchitis.

If a leaf or two be chewed, a refreshing aromatic flavor will pervade the mouth and any nervous headache, giddiness, hysterical spasm, or palpitation will be quickly relieved.

Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

— Effie Trinket


  • WebMD.com
  • herbwisdom.com
  • botanical.com

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Robie Benve


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      • profile image

        mckinsy c 3 years ago

        primrose katnisses sister is also a flower

      • Robie Benve profile image

        Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

        Marcy, I too did not know Katniss was a plant until I read the book. Rue though I knew because my grandmother used to grow it and put it in grappa, an Italian liquor. Thanks a lot! :)

      • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

        Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

        I did not know Katniss and Rue were plants! I've heard the name Rue before (as in the famous actress from Golden Girls), but had not heard the name Katniss before reading the books. Thanks for enlightening me on the history of those names!